RVHA Approves N510bn For 2018


The passage of the 2018 Appropriation Bill, including four other bills dominated last week’s proceedings at the Rivers State House of Assembly.
At plenary last Tuesday, all 14 of the sub-House Committees that conducted sittings and hearings of budget proposal defence wound down, as they took turns to present their reports.
Shortly after the report were presented, the House went into debate over the appropriation bill and four other bills. The first bill that got the approval of the House was Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic amendment bill of 2017.
The State Appropriation Bill of 2018 trailed as N510 billion was approved for the state government as budget. This included capital expenditure of N379 billion and recurrent expenditure of N132 billion.
The Local Government Repeal and Re-enactment Bill of 2018 including the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC) and (HAIO) 2018 was also passed into law.
According to the lawmakers, bill aims to align the proposed new law with the Electoral Acts of the country, which provides for the tenure of RSIEC members, time for conduct of election and other electoral matters for the smooth and transparent elections.
When the House reconvened on Wednesday, three bills were slated to be do debated upon. The Rivers State Waterways Management Authority Bill of 2017 topped the list of legislations for passage. Before the passage of the bill however, the lawmakers screened five members of RSIEC as requested by the governor.
The governor had last Tuesday sought the approval of the House to disengage five members of the State Electoral Commission, and the screening and confirmation, last Thursday was to fill the vacant positions. Only the chairman of the electoral body was retained.
The House screened and confirmed the nominees on Wednesday and thereafter proceeded to the major matters of the day. Among bills given consideration last Wednesday were the Rivers State Waterways Bill, the amendment of the Rivers State Secret Cult Law of 2004, and the Rivers State Kidnap Prohibition Amendment Bill No 2 2018.
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon Martins Amaewhule threw light on the two bills, when he argued that the time has come for the law to be stringent and heavy over those that have caused mayhem in the state.
In the words of Amaewhule: “The bill is proposing that by Section 2, those who sponsor these groups should have 21 years imprisonment”.
Many legislators had argued in favour of the amendment but Hon. Friday Nkece opined that: ” no government will fold its arms as citizens kill and main their fellow citizens. In my constituency, five villages were sacked and I, having experienced that nightmare will align myself to the bill. Khana has suffered so much in the hands of cultists”.
The speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani referred the bills to the House Committee headed by Hon. Amaewhule for hearing. The State Neighbourhood Safety Corp bill was also referred to committee.